COVID-19: Millions of Nigerians to fall into extreme poverty – Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president has told his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, that immediate measures are needed to prevent millions of Nigerians who may become extremely poor if no action is taken.

Mr Osinbajo made the remarks on Thursday while submitting the report of the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) action plan to the president.

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The vice president who chairs the committee constituted to develop a credible sustainability plan for repositioning the Nigerian economy pre and post-COVID-19 crisis period said the number of unemployment in the country might approximately rise to 34 percent of the total population.

“In addition, the inevitable mandatory lockdowns and social distancing measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 have had a severe negative impact on farms and factories, as well as on trade, transport and tourism,” he said.

“Several projections, including those done by the NBS on behalf of the Economic Sustainability Committee showed a severe downturn in our oil earnings as a result of which, even with oil price at 30 dollars a barrel, we would still have a shortfall of about N185bn every month, in the amount available for allocation to the three tiers of government.

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“That unemployment may rise to 33.6% or about 39.4 million people by the end of 2020 if we fail to take prompt preemptive measures; that millions more will fall into extreme poverty before the pandemic ends; that GDP may fall to between minus 4.40% and minus 8.91%, depending on the length of the lockdown period and strength of our economic response,” the number two citizen added.

Currently, the country is the global headquarters of extremely poor people on planet earth.

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